County hopes to address security at Civic Center

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — A little over a year ago, Wayne Kimble spoke to the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors about security concerns following a series of break-ins. He returned Monday to give an update on where the Lincoln Civic Center was in addressing those concerns. 

Kimble serves on the Lincoln Civic Center committee as chairman. In April 2023, suspects vandalized and stole side-by-sides at the civic center on two different occasions. Commissioners decided they needed to act to better protect the security of the complex. 

Discussions started from the standpoint of public safety. Commissioner Lee Morrison is a retired Highway Patrolman and former head of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and looked at the problem with a different view than anyone else could. 

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“His concern was the simple fact we put on events with large numbers of people. Kids are running around and we don’t have a system for security to see the whole facility,” Kimble said. “The cameras we do have are limited, old, antiquated and not expandable.” 

Kimble went to the board last year with the problem. Former District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson asked Kimble to do more research, gather information and present new quotes to the board. 

Research and planning took a while. Kimble said an individual created a master plan to cover the equipment sheds, RV Park, event building, arena and ball fields. Quotes were requested from several companies but only two responded. 

The quotes included cameras which could connect to the FUSUS system and be accessible from the E911 office. The new system required a reliable internet service which Civic Center Director Chaston Bullock was able to find a new fiber system. He too would have access to the cameras from his office and his phone. 

“We had sparklight but wanted more reliable internet and went with AT&T fiber in 2 of 3 places, the civic center and ball field,” Bullock said. “We are having issues with the 911 address at the RV park. It has two different addresses. AT&T did all of the work for free and we just pay the monthly bill.” 

Camera quotes

Now it is time to determine the best camera company to cover the Civic Center. Two companies returned bids, Brookhaven’s Ole Brook Fire and Security and TCSWare in Pearl. 

Lincoln County Administrator Daniel Calcote said Ole Brook submitted a low bid of $45,352.39 with 73 cameras. TCSWare submitted a bid of $57,836 for 30 cameras. 

“We gave a master plan of the area covered. Through their expertise they determined how many cameras gave the coverage. I don’t know if they are comparable,” Kimble said. “It could add more cameras in the future. Once the cameras are installed it is a one time investment.” 

Supervisors decided to take the bids under advisement. 

Sheriff Steve Rushing and his office has helped the little league games run smoother by providing deputies to work the games into the normal shifts. Kimble said he appreciated it. 

“We heard a lot of positive feedback. They see a uniform deputy on side during events and feel safer,” Kimble said. 

Serious case of vandalism

The Brookhaven Police Department investigated the stolen side-by-sides and destroyed bathroom. Kimble said the individuals involved were juveniles and could not be identified. He added the County had not received any reimbursement for the damages. 

Lincoln County Attorney Greg Malta said youth court proceedings are confidential but the county can be informed about restitution claims. He told Kimble he would find out if restitution was ordered by the court. 

Kimble said there has been an issue of jurisdiction in the past for City and County law enforcement. While part of the Civic Center is in city limits, part of it is in the county. 

Malta explained any crime committed on city property would fall in the jurisdiction of the city prosecutor. Bullock said the center calls the Lincoln County Sheriff Office and lets them make the call if Brookhaven Police need to be involved.